New Zealand host Argentina tomorrow in the Rugby Championship opener, fielding the first starting Test team to ever have over 900 caps. They have played Argentina 20 times, and won 19, drawing once. Here’s a look at a few more stats, and the coach’s preparation.
Argentina will face an uphill challenge when they start their campaign against the All Blacks in Christchurch, especially if stats and records are anything to go by. The World Champions have scored at least two tries in each of their games against Argentina, averaging 5.3 per match.
Los Pumas have scored just one try in the last three meetings between the two sides, losing by 15+ points in each of the last seven clashes. Furthermore, Steve Hansen’s men have lost just one match in their last 29 Test matches.
Argentina did win their last Rugby Championship match, but have never won away from home, and will face a side that will start with four players with 100+ caps (Woodcock, Mealamu, McCaw, Carter), and will be the first team to start with five players capped 90+ times.
The hosts will become the most capped starting fifteen in history, with 920 caps, despite fielding a debutant in Waisake Naholo. The previous record was set by the same group when they beat Samoa, and the starting XV had 868 caps.
While Argentina did have the best ruck success in last year’s tournament (95%), New Zealand scored the most tries (18) and conceded the fewest (7), while having the best tackling success at 88%, to Argentina’s 83%, the lowest.
Kick off: Friday 17 July, 19:35 local, 07:35 GMT, 08:35 BST
New Zealand team:
15 Israel Dagg 14 Waisake Naholo 13 Ma’a Nonu 12 Sonny Bill Williams 11 Charles Piutau 10 Daniel Carter 9 TJ Perenara 8 Kieran Read 7 Richie McCaw (captain) 6 Jerome Kaino 5 Brodie Retallick 4 Luke Romano 3 Owen Franks 2 Keven Mealamu 1 Tony Woodcock Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor 17 Wyatt Crockett 18 Nepo Laulala 19 Jeremy Thrush 20 Liam Messam 21 Andy Ellis 22 Colin Slade 23 Ryan Crotty
15 Joaquin Tuculet 14 Horacio Agulla 13 Marcelo Bosch 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente 11 Santiago Cordero 10 Nicolas Sanchez 9 Tomas Cubelli 1 Marcos Ayerza 2 Agustin Creevy 3 Ramiro Herrera 4 Manuel Carizza 5 Guido Petti Pagadizaval 6 Juan Manuel Leguizamon 7 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe 8 Facundo Isa Replacements: 16 Julian Montoya 17 Lucas Noguera Paz 18 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro 19 Benjamin Macome 20 Javier Ortega Desio 21 Martin Landajo 22 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias 23 Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino